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Watch out for these new tax scams

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They’re at it again... tax scammers scheming new ways to steal personal information and money.

In the first scenario, identity thieves file a fake tax return and have the refund deposited into your bank account. The thieves then contact you, often by phone, and — posing as the IRS or debt collectors for the IRS — demand you return the money to the IRS. But following the thieves’ instructions actually sends the money to them.

In another version, after you get that erroneous refund, you get an automated call, allegedly from the IRS, threatening you with criminal fraud charges, an arrest warrant, and “blacklisting” of your Social Security number. The caller gives you a case number and a telephone number to call to return the refund.

Don’t take the bait. If you or someone you know gets an unexpected tax refund, follow the guidance outlined by the IRS for how to return the funds to the agency. The steps for returning paper checks and direct deposits differ.

In a different scam, criminals are using imposter tax preparation sites and phone numbers to steal peoples’ personal information. Here's how this scam works: You go online to find a tax preparation service to prepare and e-file your tax return. But instead of landing on a legitimate site, you mis-click to a look-alike site created by scammers. The site looks real, and it’s set up to collect personal information that can be used to commit fraud, including identity theft.

The FTC has these tips to fight tax identity theft:

  • File your tax return early in the tax season, if you can.
  • Use a secure internet connection if you file electronically, or mail your tax return directly from the post office.
  • When using an online tax preparation service, look for the tax preparer identification number. The IRS requires all paid tax preparers to have one before filing any returns.
  • To determine if a website is encrypted, look for https at the start of the web address (the “s” is for secure). Some websites use encryption only on the sign-in page, but if any part of your session isn’t encrypted, your entire account could be vulnerable. Look for https on every page you visit, not just when you sign in.
  • Ask tax preparers about their data security policies, and how they protect your information.
  • Respond to all mail from the IRS as soon as possible.
  • If tax identity theft happens to you, visit to report it to the FTC, file an Identity Theft Affidavit with the IRS electronically, and get a personal recovery plan.

For more information, check out our imposters webpage.

If you spot a scam, report it at Your reports help the FTC and other law enforcement investigate scams and bring crooks to justice.

Tagged with: imposter, scam, tax
Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


I just got a call saying they were from the irs and they were filing a lawsuit against me. I filed a complaint. The number the automatic system gave me was in Texas and it's 817 381 5893. Never called them back

I have received a couple of recorded messages on my voicemail stating I would be put in handcuffs and that I have serious allegations against me. (IRS scam!!) Most recently from 360-369-6305 and 631-609-8964

Received robocall this morning from TEXAS CALLER, shown id on phone from 281-947-9009. " Hello, we've been trying to reach you. This call in and official FINAL notice from the IRS. (I hung up at this point).

I'm receiving several calls per day and although I block the numbers from all this disturbing calls, I am now reading the voicemail they leave for me because I am sick to my stomach of hearing that similar accent on the recorder so on one of many attempts my husband took the call and he told the man on the line to call him back at the given number and he actually gave him our local Sheriff's Department phone number. 10 minutes later he called back to my number and I didn't even know my husband put my phone on speaker and we both laughed so hard as his words got louder and the accent and speed I'm sure he was probably foaming at the mouth out of rage .

Received 2 calls on 7-11-2018 from 1-678-675-1380 IRS. will go to Federal Prison if I do not pay my Taxes. They left a message which I saved.

got the call telling me to call back at 877-402-5743. They left a message telling me a lawsuit filed in my name by the federal government. voice message start in the middle with "...intentional fraud..."

Received a call from Ryan Smith of the IRS telling me to call (206) 279-2761 (Seattle area code) about the "fraudulent and illegal" information in my IRS audit report.

# 559-545-3497 Robot called yesterday claiming they were the IRS and to call the listed number. They have been trying to get a hold of me for 6 months but with no response so a law suite was filed and a arrest warrant has been issued with up to 5 years imprisonment and seize all my families properties due to tax evasion since 2012, please contact number ASAP if I have any questions.
UNFORTUNATELY I called and with the first ring a guy picks up "Hello, IRS this is Shawn Handric badge ID IRM2351" IRM?. Sorry but you can not get through to the IRS on the first ring. It's a 30min wait and includes all their options (press 1 for english, etc)
He tells me if I want to settle this I can talk to his senior advisor Steve Hamtton GS772910.
Yes, I want to because I need to straiten things out. He said it's a yearly process since 2012, no specific spot. I told him I have a professional accountant file my taxes so unless he can tell me where they are goofed I can't do anything as well as I talked to the IRS two months ago and everything was fine. He said he would have to talk to his accounting department to find the issue and call me back in 30 minutes. I never heard back from him.
I called the IRS and they said everything is fine and report them to 800-366-4484 IRS tax administration for fraud.
So unfortunately I stayed on the phone too long with these crooks.

One from tel:760-260-8069

Watch,out for these scammers trying to get your money that you don't owe...Jennifer Hayes was the supposed officer on the line at 518-882-3749...which threatened me with,arrest warnt and a federal agent would be at my home in two hour's!!! They all need to go to jail

I appreciate the information provided by all the posters, especially after receiving an identical message to Scary's message from 559-545-3497. With all these scams and reported phone numbers, I guess we have to protect ourselves? What is the FTC doing besides providing us a forum to exchange information?

Received the same robo call stating 4 charges filed against me that the local police would be out to arrest me if I didn't call them back at (315)232-8843. I knew it was a scam so I called them back and gave them all wrong info then was told I owe $3500 immediately or I'd be arrested n put in federal prison, my drivers license would be revoked and all property confiscated. I said well good luck this is a scam and all info I gave you was false I'm reporting you. He said I knew you were lying (he did actually know my full name, very scary) and that since I lied the police would be here with in hours to get me and he hung up. I am a disabled and a single parent and they had me scared to death til I got onto the website and it stated that the it's would never call threatening arrest or license revocation. Beware folks.

The just called me from 201-918-4442 and wanted me to call back. I put that number into my auto dialer and they will get a call from me ever 10 minutes for the next 24 hours.

Here is a transcript of their robotic voicemail. Silly scammers, tricks are for kids.

“_⁠_⁠_⁠_ for the tax fraud and _⁠_⁠_ investigating _⁠_⁠_⁠_ of our department please investigating you and your family we had tried to know _⁠_⁠_ fight you regarding _⁠_⁠_⁠_ issue in previous six months _⁠_⁠_⁠_ we had never _⁠_⁠_ a response from you so it has been considered an intentional _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ and _⁠_⁠_ lawsuit has been filed under your name by the United States government you may call our department number three to _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_91187 I repeat it's 320-209-1187 thank you…”

Got a similar call !!! It started with " we have tried to notify you regarding this issue in previous six months but we never got any response from your end, so, it has been considered as an intentional fraud and lawsuit has been filed under your name by the United States government number 219-301-8205 I repeat 219-301-8205 thank you"

I've been getting calls all day from 559-328-9806 with a computer voice stating: “We Have just received a notification regarding your tax filings from the headquarters which will get expired 24 working hours and once it gets expired after that you will be taken under custody by the local cops as there are serious allegations pressed on your name at this moment. We would request you to get back to us so that we can discuss about this case. We look forward to doing any legal action against you the number to reach us is 559-328-9806, I repeat 559-328-9806 thank you”

I received the call, that I would be arrested.
I said come get me Honey

What robo call says....."sooooooo, you need to call..." I listened to the message 3 times because I couldn't believe the over explanation and way of speaking as if they were trying to remember everything they were supposed to say. Funny but sad that people fall for these fear tactics. 706 area code!

Report them to IRS and FBI,but they have better things to do,not attention to the public,so I take acción on my own and it works,but can not disclose how for a very good reasons !

Report them to IRS and FBI,but they have better things to do,not attention to the public,so I take acción on my own and it works,but can not disclose how for a very good reasons !

Robo-message left from (512) 361-7454. Didn't listen to the whole thing as the message started mid-recording. Caught "by your local police", added the number to my call blocker app, and deleted the voicemail. Seriously... what is the FTC doing to protect people from this??

I received the message "Your name and your tax ID for the tax fraud and the investigating team of our department is investigating you and your family" etc etc same as a commenter above, October 2018, but the number it came from is (718) 312-8398. (7183128398)

Received a call from 1-215-346-5947, left me a recorded message very garbled, jist of it saying there has been an arrest warrant issued and my home is being monitored at this moment before any action is taken to call this number back.... didn't call back but obviously sounds fake.

Received a call from 469.327.6017 with this message on my voicemail: We have tried to notify you regarding this issue in previous six months but we never got any response from you, so, it has been considered as an intentional fraud and lawsuit has been filed under your name by the United States government number 4-699-327-6017. I repeat it's 4-699-327-6017".

You would think if that were true, in the last 6 months I would have received a certified letter at least? Also it's the same exact message as someone else.

Some one leave me a message:
“On your actual income tax which is higher than what it was supposed to be for the same arrest warrant is released on your name to resolve this case please call us back immediately on our number 256-403-7879 I repeat 256-403-7879…”
Sounds very scammy to me.

Got two different phone calls with the same message as following: “_⁠_ _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ investigating you and your family we had tried to _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ you regarding _⁠_⁠_⁠_ issue in previous six months that we had never got a response from New so it has been considered as an intentional fraud and lawsuit has been filed under your name _⁠_ _⁠_⁠_ United States government you may call our department number 28140848385 I repeat it's 281-408-4835 thank you…”
“To getting you and your family we had tried to _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ you regarding this issue in previous six months but we had never got a response from you so it has been considered an intentional _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ and the lawsuit has been filed under your name by _⁠_⁠_ United States government you may call our department number 21499762095 I repeat it's 214-997-6095 thank you…”

The latest slew of calls I've been getting have been from 7 or 8 different phone numbers with the same automayed message. 'Please press 1 to speak with our refund officer now.' I never paid money to the government. I NEVER answer or call these numbers. EVER!

call from 855-633-2573 irs scam

I received a recorded message from this number ‭+1 (202) 205-4571‬ stating that my Social Security number was frozen. Spoke with operator after pressing #. He said he was the Social Security office. I asked him for the address. After I asked him what country he was calling from he hung up

i have been getting calls from 202-688-1406 and 202-539-1403
about taxes.

I keep getting letters from a supposed "United States Tax Relief Office" and it keeps claiming I owe over $7,000 for a couple months in taxes when I first moved to VA. I got 6 different letters in 1 day. That is harassment. They claim I can just go through them and pay them around $700. Really? Since the IRS already contacted me via official certified letter and I approved them to just take those funds out of my account long ago, this is obviously fake. DO NOT BELIEVE THESE LETTERS. Call the IRS directly. It's better to be up front and honest and be safe. Maybe you DO owe some money but don't pay these thieves.

Just wanted to note that the scammers are getting information from public lien & deliquent tax notices published in newspapers. This is no leak of information, but a bad policy (no doubt adding incredible amounts of stress to people as if being way behind in taxes wasn't bad enough, the govt has to plaster this all over the place!). Trying to drive us poor people to suicide.


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